Walker Library, first edition

Photo courtesy Hennepin History Museum

As the needs of libraries and their constituents change so too do their physical buildings. Uptown’s current Walker Library is its third! Here, library patrons pose for a photo in the first Walker Library’s reading room. This building — still standing across the street from the current Walker Library — was built in 1911. Uptown at the time was just entering two decades of rapid growth. The Lake & Hennepin intersection was starting to take off as the center of a major new commercial district, due partly to new streetcar lines and extensive housing construction in the surrounding neighborhoods. West High School opened at 29th & Hennepin in 1908; many of the readers in this photograph are likely West students. In 1981, this library — by then too small to accommodate the neighborhood’s large population — was replaced by a new building across the street. The 1980s library has since been demolished and replaced on the same site with a new library (2014), and the original 1911 library shown here has been turned into a lounge and events center.

Photograph from Hennepin History Museum’s collection. Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.